Top positive review
40 people found this helpful
The sum of the parts...
on 14 April 2014
If you're price-comparing Lenovo C460's the first thing to note is that Lenovo ship several different versions of this model, all (confusingly) called the C460, so be sure you're comparing like with like. I got the non-touchscreen version which comes with an Intel i3 processor and a Nvidia GeForce 705M graphics card - if you opt for the touchscreen version you get a less-powerful Pentium chip and no discrete graphics card. All versions ship with Windows 8.1 installed but this isn't going to be a review of 8.1 (it's a pigs ear in a silk purse!) which some people will love and some will hate - I'll stick to the computer itself. Once you get past the initial Windows setup procedure you'll find a selection of Lenovo and third-party app's installed but compared to the pile of trial-now-pay-later junk some manufacturers include it's not too bad. Lenovo's own app's are a bit confusing with similar features spread across multiple app's but they do give you access to the Recovery options (which allow you to reinstall the bundled app's or reset to the default settings) and some basic system settings like toggling the wi-fi and Bluetooth on or off - so I kept most of them installed.
Straight out of the box you only have to attach the bottom 'foot' of the stand using the inbuilt screw fixings (no tools needed) and then plug in the keyboard, mouse and power and switch on. The build quality seems good and the design is really successful making it an attractive and elegant looking computer very obviously based on Apple's design of the iMac. Annoyingly, the shiny plastic bezel which surrounds the display is a total dust and lint magnet - hopefully the static charge might fade after a while, but keep a lint-free cloth handy. The display itself is good and quite bright but the view-angle isn't the absolute best, this is no IPS screen, so you'll want to be positioned in front, and slightly above, of it for the best results, especially if you're doing anything colour-critical. The mouse and keyboard feel lightweight but decent quality and the mouse has a handy side-button which enables a few additional 'gesture' controls.
However, the most negative first impression is how noisy the hard-drive is - the drive spinning (and onboard fan) are quiet, but the noise of the drive heads at work is really quite bad. The drive in my particular C460 is a 3.5" 1TB WD Blue and I'm really surprised how clattery it sounds. When the PC starts a drive-intensive task, like a full virus scan, it sounds like someone pouring ball-bearings down a metal staircase, really not good. Of course Lenovo might fit different models of hard-drives in different batches of the C460, so this might not affect everyone, but for me it's a real annoyance - thankfully the hard-drive runs at a decent speed and helps to make the computer quite responsive in use. The inbuilt DVD-RW drive is a tray-loader and it is a bit fiddly to get discs correctly snapped into position when you load them, but an optical drive is still a welcome inclusion for those of us with software and games on disc (are you listening Apple?). There are 6 USB ports in total, four USB-2 and two USB-3, but the USB-3 ones are all on the left edge of the computer (alongside the headphone, mic and memory-card slots) so if you keep a fast USB-3 device, like an external hard-drive, connected you'll see the cable hanging out of the side of the PC, which spoils the all-in-one look.
The C460 has both Intel integrated graphics and a discrete Nvidia graphics card, the entry-level GeForce 705M (which is apparently a re-jigged version of the older GeForce 610M) so it's quite possible to play big-name games although you'll probably have to reduce the quality settings on the more recent and/or more demanding of them. For example Bioshock and Bioshock 2 both play smoothly at the High quality settings whereas the more recent BioShock Infinite only plays smoothly at the Low or Medium quality settings (still looks great though!). I got the original Assassin's Creed and Crysis running at good frame-rates too, but I did have to tweak the settings in (the especially demanding) Crysis to achieve it. The C460 certainly isn't aimed at hardcore gamers but it's capable enough for the occasional blast, especially if you stick with slightly older and/or less-demanding games.
If you need to upgrade or fix your C460 Lenovo have made it a breeze to do - the lower half of the back panel simply slides off to give access to the RAM slots, the hard-drive and even to the optical drive, which in my experience is the component most likely to go wrong. If the noise of that hard-drive gets too much to bear you can easily snap a new one into the flexible plastic cradle inside, you won't even need a screwdriver. It's really not much more difficult than changing the battery in a radio and I wish more manufacturers made it this easy to upgrade and fix your own computer (again, are you listening Apple?).
Speaking of Apple... My other computer's an iMac - which sounds like a cheesy bumper-sticker but it's true and since this Lenovo closely mimics Apple's iMac designs it might be worth mentioning for anyone comparing the two. To be honest the C460 isn't on the same level as an iMac, either in build or component quality, but then you wouldn't expect it to be since it's close to half the price of an iMac and, to be fair to Lenovo, you may be paying half the price but you get a lot more than half the computer. In the end there's no denying the C460's an entry-level computer and the components and build-quality are all good but not great - yet Lenovo have still managed to make an affordable and stylish computer that would be speedy and capable enough for most households and it's well worth considering for your next PC.